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An evolving science-society contract in India: The search for legitimacy in anticipatory risk governance


  • Gupta, Aarti


This article analyzes evolving institutions and practices of anticipatory risk governance in India, through the lens of two recent and highly controversial developments in governing genetically modified crops in Indian agriculture. These developments include, first, conflicts over approving (or not) the very first genetically modified food crop in India and a related experiment in participatory decision-making; and second, proposals to revamp the existing biosafety regulatory system (with its checks and balances across diverse sources of authority) with one that elevates scientists and scientific expertise to the pinnacle of decision-making power. The article analyzes the distinct means by which legitimacy is sought to be conferred upon the means and ends of anticipatory risk governance, as reflected in these two examples. I contrast claims to legitimacy deriving from innovative experiments in participatory democracy with legitimacy claims based upon “objective” science, showing that despite acknowledged need for the former, the latter is still being prioritized. The article concludes by identifying the contours of an evolving science-society contract in India, as revealed by these cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Gupta, Aarti, 2011. "An evolving science-society contract in India: The search for legitimacy in anticipatory risk governance," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 736-741.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:36:y:2011:i:6:p:736-741
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2011.07.011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sheila Jasanoff, 2003. "(No?) Accounting for expertise," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 157-162, June.
    2. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Qaim, Matin, 2007. "Estimating the adoption of Bt eggplant in India: Who Benefits from public-private partnership?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(5-6), pages 523-543.
    3. Aarti Gupta, 2010. "Transparency to what end? Governing by disclosure through the biosafety clearing house," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(1), pages 128-144, February.
    4. Aarti Gupta, 2010. "Transparency as Contested Political Terrain: Who Knows What about the Global GMO Trade and Why does it Matter?," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 10(3), pages 32-52, August.
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    1. repec:spr:ieaple:v:17:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10784-016-9331-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:ieaple:v:18:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10784-017-9377-6 is not listed on IDEAS


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